Spring 2016 Conference Lightning Rounds

The Class of ’66 Yearbook Project
Lisa Forrest, Director, Research & Instruction

Burke Library, Hamilton College
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At Hamilton College, librarians and educational technologists are leading a unique research project in collaboration with the college’s Communication & Development office.  In preparation for the 50th reunion of the class of 1966, student research fellows are working closely with members from the Research & Instructional Design team to create a multimedia “yearbook” containing oral histories, a timeline of events utilizing resources from the college’s archives, and other interactive features.  In this presentation, we will share our experiences, lessons learned, and ideas for the future of the project.

Courting Serendipity: A Path to Collaborating With Your Faculty
John Cosgrove, Access Services & Humanities Librarian
Lucy Scribner Library, Skidmore College
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Many academic institutions emphasize collaborating with faculty, but how do you go about making that collaboration happen? My suggestion: relax and do your job well, you might be surprised at the opportunities that come up.

Library Advocacy in Academia
Jeremy Johannesen, Executive Director
New York Library Association
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Every librarian has a responsibility to participate in advocacy – this presentation will include information on NYLA’s Legislative Agenda, the state budget process, the current political landscape, and strategizing for the future, with a particular focus on the role of the academic librarian.

Make The Counting Count: Statistics With Purpose
April Davies, Head of Technical & Public Services
Van Wagenen Library, SUNY Cobleskill
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A brief look at how Van Wagenen Library is using routinely collected data to effectively demonstrate the value and importance of the Library to campus administration, accreditors, and other stakeholder groups.

Symptoms of Neoliberalism in the Library: Emulating “The Bookstore Model”
Holly Kuhl, Reference and Instruction Librarian
Cayuga Community College
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This presentation considers the library trend of emulating bookstore aesthetics, particularly the incorporation of a café, in the context of neoliberal hegemony.

Neoliberalism, an economic philosophy that became the guiding principle of global economic policies in the late 1970s, postulates that individual freedoms are best secured by “liberating the market.” Neoliberal policies aim to deregulate natural resources and public services. Once “liberated,” these public entitlements are privatized and commodified by private (corporate) entities, who make profits from their sale in the market.

In the public realm, neoliberal policies have resulted in, what John Buschman, in his 2005 book identified as, a “dismantling of the public sphere.” Amidst ongoing budget cuts, public institutions such as schools, museums, and libraries must provide increasingly innovative services in order to justify funding and “compete” with private sector businesses.

A trend some libraries have embraced in order to address the challenges brought about by neoliberal policies is to reproduce the bookstore aesthetic, including a café. This feature, it is hoped, will entice visitors to the library, increasing gate count. Once at the library, new visitors will make use of other services, leading to increased circulation statistics and higher attendance at programs. In some cases, the café may even generate auxiliary funds.

The bookstore trend offers an immediate solution to challenges faced by libraries. However, by implementing this trend, libraries and library professionals are complicit in forwarding the neoliberal agenda, the ultimate goal of which is to completely privatize the public sphere, libraries included.

Teaching Digital
Irina Holden, Information Literacy and Science Outreach Librarian

University at Albany
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Present day college instruction has moved into digital world quite a while ago. Teaching librarians embraced online environment to enhance library instruction and improve student experience both as a researcher and information creator.

Unfortunately, being users of modern technology does not necessarily mean being eager learners. Google seems to be the one that everyone prefers to stop at… And what do librarians observe? As an information literacy instructor who teaches a credit-bearing course I feel constant pressure to move forward, to catch up with my students, to show them the best of what the libraries can offer. Does it work? I think not as well as I have hoped.

For example, as a part of their research project students select and evaluate various resources, including book and reference source. Traditionally these were the first sources to begin research with, and the students diligently marched to the stacks to pull those books off the shelves. Once the e-books were introduced and allowed to use instead of traditional print format, the ability to pull them from their electronic shelves, unfortunately, dropped rapidly.

This presentation would address the questions of decreasing student’s ability to locate and use electronic resources, particularly e-books. The presenter would welcome any comment and practical advice in order to remedy the problem.